Local News


Dirty Dining: Cafe Noodle called danger to public health

Posted at 10:46 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-27 12:45:10-04

Cafe Noodle and Chinese BBQ on Spring Mountain and Arville may be the single largest repeat offender in Dirty Dining history.  

This is their fifth appearance and it seems health inspectors have finally had enough.  

They suspended the restaurant's permit for an "ongoing pattern of non-compliance with basic food safety as well as Health District regulations."

At Cafe Noodle's most recent inspection, there were repeat violations for:

  • Food at unsafe temperatures
  • Equipment and pans soiled with dried food debris
  • Thawing food subject to cross-contamination 

It left them with a C grade, which was the last straw after a previous warning from Health District officials in August 2016.  

The owners of Cafe Noodle were told that another C grade would not be acceptable due to their history of critical and major food safety violations.  

That warning came after a 53-demerit closure where inspectors found moldy and expired food, and bloody raw poultry boxes stored over food equipment.

PHOTOS: See photos in media player at the top of this story.

When we tried to ask questions at the time, employees ran away. 

Despite multiple attempts, we were unable to reach Owner Karen Choi for this story, but we did speak to her in 2014 after Cafe Noodle was shut down with 55 demerits.

"We cannot pass the inspection so it's shut two days," Choi told us.

She talked about how hard it is to keep clean during busy times.

"When they're running you can't check every time, you know?"

And the need to better train her staff about hand washing.

"Yeah, we work on education, you know, keep them doing it more often, you know, have to do it!"

At the time, inspectors also found moldy zucchini and live insects.

Karen: We don't have problem for the pest control, for the pests.
Darcy: This time is the only time you've had pests in your kitchen?
Karen: Okay, I tell you, since I use the Ecolab, we are fine. Before, we close because of the cockroach. That's why I use a lot of money to take care of that.

All that added up to an October 11 letter saying "The Health District can no longer allow your facility to operate in a way that endangers public health."  

But Cafe Noodle wasn't going down without a fight.

At a recent hearing, the Health District decided to give Cafe Noodle one last chance, but under a host of conditions.  

For example, they've got to replace the entire kitchen staff and they have to pass unannounced, quarterly inspections with nothing less than an A grade for the next year and a half.

Also, for the next year and a half, their food safety consultant will visit the restaurant five days a week and they'll have pest control and professional deep cleaning every month.    

Anything less than an A over the next 18 months and all of Cafe Noodle's health permits will be revoked.

Health District Documents:

Inspection Report

10/11/17 Food Establishment Inspection

8/1/16 Report and Notice of Inspection

Order before hearing officer


Revocation letter